I'm just a trouble magnet when it comes to checks - payroll or otherwise.
I have the litany down pat now whenever someone wants to cash a payroll check. These are my criteria.
1. I look at the check. Everything on that check better be printed but the signature. If not, no dice. I don't care if it says LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, 100 PEARLY GATES, HEAVEN as the business name - you're not cashing a handwritten check here. And you're especially not cashing a third-party check.
2. Do you HAVE a social security number? If you don't then you're in the country illegally and you can't work and earn money legally. If you do, do you know it. You'd be shocked how many people don't know their SSN. I had to wait for 10 minutes the other day while this one girl screamed at her mother over the phone "Mom, I'm standing in line. I need the money. Get up and find my social security number!"
3. Do you have a U.S. drivers license? Not a passport. Not a foreign DL. Not any other sort of ID but an honest-to-goodness drivers license issued by a DMV somewhere within the 50 states.
I was trying to cash a check for this kid Saturday and he had a social and a DL. It wouldn't go through. Sometimes this happens when the company behind the check has failed to make their payroll. So Wal-mart refuses to give out money on the checks, because there's no guaranteed that what we sent to the clearinghouse will be honored.
I explain that I'm very sorry, I can't cash the check, and I give him a 1-800 number to call on Monday morning. Well, Sunday, he rolls back up in there with Mommy and demands to talk to a manager. Mumsy-Wumsy tells the manager that I "refused" to cash her widdle precious boy's check.
Manager looks at me. "What's the deal with this check?"
I'm like "It wouldn't go through. You try." He tries. Same result. I stare the mother-witch down. Vindication is so sweet.
He gives her the same 1-800 number I gave the spawn. This kid must be seriously damaged if he thinks Mumsy-Wumsy is going to force a retailer to cash a $196 check just on her say-so. As if.
It was almost as good at the two gentlemen of Mexican origins, who were trying to use a fake Social Security number that one of them had to cash checks for the other one.
I couldn't figure out why the checks weren't going through and finally called one of the Spanish supervisors over. She knew this game and starts quizzing them real fast in Spanish. They grabbed the checks, the fake card and took off. She was laughing when she told me.